Go for school based assessments

File photo: School children eagerly watch the virtual factory tour.

KUCHING: The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that the switch from centralised examination to more school-based assessments is more relevant, said an academic.

Dr Ambigapathy

Dean of Faculty of Language and Communication, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Professor Dr Ambigapathy Pandian pointed out that examination could not be given to students who had not completed their syllabus.

He said a flexible curriculum and a decentralised approach to the examination could benefit students with different abilities as well as capabilities.

“When you give students examinations, you are trying to see how much they have learned. However, you cannot give examinations or tests if the students have not completed their syllabus.

“I think it is time that we move to school-based assessments like in tertiary education institutions. Students should be given marks for attendance, participation and doing their assignments.

“We should also be more flexible because we assume that a student who enters school at the age of 7 will finish and graduate by 18. I think that the system needs to be re-evaluated because some students may take longer while others are shorter,” he said.

Ambigapathy added that teachers should be empowered and trusted to conduct school-based alternative assessments

“Teachers shoulder the important responsibility of instilling a love for education in the students and them to have a good relationship with education. When the students have an interest and passion for education, they will be able to judge what they need and want to learn more about.

“As for the evaluation and marking for the school-based alternative assessments, a procedure similar to that for the centralised examination can be utilised,” he added.

On the challenges of home-based teaching and learning (PdPR), Ambigapathy said the availability of internet access played a significant role in its success.

He said like clean water and electricity, the internet was necessary for every household.

“Home-based learning is not something new. When you talk about technology, for me it is important to have internet connectivity. There is no point in equipping the students with laptops if they do not have access to the internet in their homes,” he added.

Dr Joseph

Meanwhile, Dr Joseph Ramanair, an academic at a local tertiary education institution, also pointed out that project-based assessment that reflected and measured learning objectives could be implemented.

Education for the children and students must continue despite the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.

“There is a need to consider rolling out online infrastructure at a maximum rate. The challenge is either having a device but no connection or vice versa.

“Therefore, setting up and enhancing the internet infrastructure should be our focus now that we have been facing this pandemic for more than a year,” he said.